Decision making and uncertainty

When men get a prostate cancer diagnosis, the next discussion is usually about treatment. The stage of the cancer will determine the type of treatments on offer.  Generally, with a diagnosis of low-risk, low-grade prostate cancer, men will often have several options available to choose from.

Depending on a range of criteria, men can consider active surveillance, surgery, or radiotherapy.  There is also the NanoKnife®, which is currently available in Sydney and Queensland.

Active surveillance delays dealing with the two major side-effects of surgery and, to a lesser extent, radiotherapy – incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Whatever treatment men are looking at, all bring uncertainty.  Common concerns include:-

  • Am I making the right decision?
  • Will the side-effects be worse than expected or not as bad?
  • What is really the best treatment option for me?
  • Will there be other effects from the treatment that I don’t know about?
  • I’ve heard stories about other men – will those things also happen to me?

To work through this maze of questions and worries, it can be helpful to visit a Prostate Cancer Support Group to hear other men’s experiences.  Just remember, every man will respond differently to even the same treatment.  There is no one size fits all treatment. Obtain a second opinion to guide you towards what is best for you, not others.

Even with all the information gathered, there can still be that internal nagging voice – “I’m still not sure”.

Part of the problem is that men, in general, are fixers.  We have a problem and generally we know how or what to do to fix it, but prostate cancer is a whole different kettle of fish. At the low risk stage, men are presented with options, and fixing the problem is not at all straightforward.  There are so many shades of grey.

For many men, they would love to hear “this is the treatment for you, these are the side-effects, and it will work”.  End of story.  Unfortunately, there might still be some level of doubt.  If you can step back for a moment and look at other events in your life where there has been some uncertainty around decision making.  Consider what you did then with the uncertainty, and what you learned that might help you now.

There is no simple answer when dealing with the uncertainty of decision making, and the consequences of that decision, relating to prostate cancer.

If you are stuck in this stage of uncertainty, seek out relevant information, talk to support groups or individuals who might have been in a similar situation.  As uncomfortable as the uncertainty is, be prepared to sit with it, with the anxiety of these uncharted waters.  Talk to your family, or close friends.  The Cancer Council has a help line (13 11 20) where you can talk one-on-one to work through your concerns.

Consider counselling to guide and support you during this transition period, to determine what is the best option for you and that you can you live with the decision that you make.

You don’t have to do this alone, seeking and asking for help shows strength, not weakness.

Lastly, consider visiting the Navigate website, an on-line decision aid for men diagnosed with low-risk, low-grade prostate cancer.  Navigate is a project being run by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and I am the consumer advocate on the project.

Once you are registered on Navigate, you will be selected for further involvement which will go some way to assisting you to make your decision, and hopefully reduce some of the uncertainty that is churning inside you.

Men’s Health goes to Bunnings, Mentone

Alan White holding Men's International Health Week 2017 information

Who’s interested in men’s health?

Drop into the Bunnings store at Nepean Highway in Mentone (opposite Jefferson Ford) this coming Saturday, 17th June 2017.  You can get a free health information show bag, while you discuss “secret men’s business” over a coffee at the display stand inside the store.

If you don’t live near Mentone and you want to see what’s happening near you, check out the Men’s Health Week website for all the info you can handle.

New Male Health Conference

Last week, I attended the National Male Health Conference in Parramatta, NSW. I also gave a short presentation on the subject of prostate cancer, called “Wounding of the Soul“.

The focus of the Conference was the need to seek opportunities to promote male health not only through the health services, but through the workplace, the school and all other areas which can be seen as vital to the social determinants of male health.

Greg Millan and Alan White promoting their books at the National Male Health Conference in Parramatta.

Greg Millan, Director Men’s Health Services NSW, with Alan White, Counsellor and Nutritionist, promoting their books at the National Male Health Conference in Parramatta, NSW.

The Conference, which was organised by Greg Millan of Men’s Health Services, provided a great arena for all participants to learn and network.

I had the pleasure of meeting Professor John Macdonald, Director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre at the University of Western Sydney.  Professor Macdonald is a strong advocate for men’s health across all age groups and cultures.

The Conference kicked off with a Welcome to Country by Stuart McMinn, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Liaison Worker with Interrelate.  It would have been great to attend every presentation, but I had to choose.  As well as the individual sessions, I was able to sit in on panel discussions on topics such as stopping male suicide, improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men’s health and wellbeing, and the future of men’s health.

The trip to Parramatta to attend the Conference was well worthwhile.  I came back to Melbourne feeling re-energised and motivated to find new avenues to promote men’s health.

Movember progress at Day Ten

Okay, Day Ten of Movember has arrived and is swiftly departing.  The Mo Sistas at Shine Health Wellbeing Centre have been out in force today to support the cause.

Donations are steadily trickling in, with some very generous donors indeed.  Thank you to all those who have kindly given so generously.

There’s still plenty of time to support Movember (and my mo) – to raise awareness about men’s health and support research in this area.  You can donate directly to my Movember page at http://mobro.co/alanwhite256 or if you are in the Black Rock area, drop in to Shine and make a donation in person.  Receipts are available, of course, and you can pick up your free men’s health info bag.

Meanwhile, you can check out the pictures below to see the state of bristle growth on my upper lip and see how much better the Mo Sistas are doing.

My book has arrived in time for Movember

After a long gestation, my book has arrived from the publisher, Busybird Publishing.

Busybird staff, Kev and Les, with author Alan White

Alan White, author, with Kev Howlett and Les Zigomanis of Busybird Publishing.

With Movember fast approaching (and, yes, I’ll be growing the mo), the book has arrived at the perfect time.  To watch my progress and make a donation to Movember, click here.  To grab your copy of the book, click here.

Although this is my story of the prostate cancer journey, I think you’ll find there is information that will be relevant to many men with a prostate cancer diagnosis.  Not to mention their partners.  My wife has contributed her experience and helpful suggestions to keep you both happy.

A big thank you to Blaise, Les and Kev at Busybird.  You are an awesome team and have been great to work with.

Alan White, author of We've Lost My Prostate Mate, holding a copy of his book at the publisher, Busybird

Author, Alan White, with his newly released book – We’ve Lost My Prostate Mate… and Life Goes On.

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A day at the yacht club

Last Saturday, we had perfect weather to promote men’s health at the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron in beautiful bayside Melbourne.

Tim Wilson, Federal MP for Goldstein, turned up to show his support and pick up his free men’s health information pack.

Tim Wilson, Federal MP, and Alan White at Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron

Grateful thanks to Andrology Australia, Foundation 49, PCFA and DVA for supplying the valuable literature in each man’s showbag.  If you missed out on a bag, you can drop in to Shine Health Wellbeing Centre, 35 Bluff Road, Black Rock to grab your copy.

Thanks to Ross Popplewell, Commodore of the BMYS, who instigated the Big Aussie BBQ at the Squadron.  Thanks also to Vern, Tony and Paul from Bayside Kingston Prostate Cancer Support Group for turning up and handing out the showbags.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event at the Squadron.

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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

It’s been a long time between posts, but this is an important month – Prostate Cancer Awareness month, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Question – when was the last time you visited your GP for a check-up?

You need check-ups routinely to keep track of your health.  The one I’m asking you to remember most of all this month is your PSA levels (prostate specific antigen).  Any rise in PSA levels may indicate changes in your prostate gland (not necessarily cancer).

So, do you have the balls to get your prostate checked?

As part of Prostate Cancer Awareness month, the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron in Beach Road, Beaumaris, is holding a Big Aussie BBQ.

From breakfast to brunch on Saturday 17th September, they will be providing food, coffee, raffles (with great prizes) and a stunning view of the Bay.

Starting at 8am and running until noon, the funds raised will be given to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).  Gold coin entry will get you in the door.

Photo of Alan White and Ross Popplewell at Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron for Prostate Awareness Month 2016

Alan White and Ross Popplewell, Commodore of Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron

I will be there in my capacity as a volunteer Men’s Health Peer Educator, representing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. There will be free men’s health showbag packs to take away, with information supplied by:

So, if you are in the Bayside area this coming Saturday morning, bring the family along to enjoy the view, the food, the free men’s health information, and a good chat about health or anything else that comes to mind.

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Reiki interview on ABC Radio 774

Libbi Gorr

Libbi Gorr

You may have been to this website before and read my page on Reiki.  If you’d like to hear my recent interview by the lovely Libbi Gorr on ABC Radio 774 about Reiki (what it is and what it isn’t), I’ve embedded a link to the program below.

If you’d like to come in for a Reiki session with me, so you can experience for yourself what it’s like, send me an email (askypilot@bigpond.com) or give me a call on my mobile phone (0407 617 800).

 

 

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International Men’s Health Week 2016

Machine Man - AMSA - Spanner in the Works

When was your last service?

Did you know that this coming week (13th June to 19th June) is International Men’s Health Week?

Did you know that there’s even an organisation that runs the whole shebang in Australia?  Yep, it’s called Men’s Health Week – catchy, eh?  And how do you like Machine Man below?  He comes to you courtesy of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and features on their Men’s Health Tool Box booklet.  Pretty cool.

Australian Men's Shed Association Machine Man

 

Your body is like a car – both require regular maintenance.

So, what better time to ask yourself:-

  • How am I travelling, physically, mentally and emotionally?
  • Is it time for my annual service with my GP?
  • Do I even have a regular GP?
  • When did I last have my chassis checked?  What about my shock absorbers or my oil pressure?  And don’t let me forget my fuel injector!

Who can you talk to about men’s health issues?

As you may know, I work at a multi-modality health centre in Black Rock, Victoria – Shine Health Wellbeing Centre.  I provide counselling, nutritional advice, massage, Reiki, and craniosacral release.  My special interest is men’s health and wellbeing.

For Men’s Health Week at Shine Health, we are giving away free men’s health information packs from this coming Tuesday (14th June 2016).

The first 20 packs will include a $20 voucher for men to use at the Centre.

The pack will also contain a health appraisal questionnaire that you can fill in to give you some idea of how you’re travelling.  Once you’ve collected your info pack and completed your self-assessment, make an appointment to see me (Alan) or Marta, our Naturopath, to discuss the results.

So, if you’re able to come in to the centre, grab your free info pack and get your engine in top gear.  Or give us a call on 03 9589 4549 to make an appointment.

Shine Health Wellbeing Centre is located at 35 Bluff Road, Black Rock (across the road from Cafeteria, where you can get the best coffee ever).

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